Rose, Cherry and Chia Jam

Jam made with rose water, cherries and chia seeds: Inspired by the deliciously simple ‘jam’ made as part of our breakfasts at a Rose Retreat in Bulgaria last year. Our incredible chef Sarah and her partner Andreas spent a considerable amount time de-stoning fresh cherries that happen to be in season around the time of the rose retreat! 

Recipe: I made this version with some frozen cherries I had in the freezer, simply add the following to a blender*:

  • a table spoon of chia seeds,
  • a cup of cherries,
  • a table spoon of rose water,

…whizz for a minute or two. Leave to ‘set’, or more accurately, let the chia seeds absorb the moisture in the cherries (fresh or frozen will have enough water content) for about an hour leaving a slightly gloopy, jammy texture – if it’s too runny for you, add a few more chia seeds.

Ingredients: You can purchase organic rose water suitable for using in foods from my web shop here: Organic Rose Water. Alternatively, you can add rose petals from your garden to the mix, make sure they have not been sprayed with any chemical insecticides or fungicides etc. Cherries from your local fruit supplier. Chia seeds from Healthy Supplies.

Health: Suitable to support people cutting down or removing sugar from their diet, or generally wanting to eat yummy, healthy food, since you only need fruit and chia seeds – regular jam is usually made with a great deal of sugar, but the fruit alone can taste sweet enough.

Shelf life: Can be kept in the fridge and will last a few days, (the huge amount of refined sugar is what allows for the long shelf life of regular jam, but since we have freezers now, we don’t need to preserve our foods to keep us alive through winter.

Tips: Use any fruit you like in place of the cherries and the rose water is not essential but certainly gives a floral twist. You could try blackberries when they are in season with a hint of lavender water. Be aware that different fruits will have different water content, and determine how runny or thick the jam becomes, so add more chia seeds for a thicker consistency.

  • You may like to add a little sweetener for taste such as maple syrup or honey.
  • *If you don’t have a blender just mash the fruit and mix with the chia seeds.

Rose Lovers: If you love roses, you may like to find out more about a Rose Retreat, which takes place in Bulgaria at the end of May, during the rose harvest. As well as visiting fields of scented roses, a rose essential oil distillery and mineral spa, our workshops and meals are all themed around roses… and will surely include rose cherry chia jam, rose scented panna cotta, rose harissa and rose petal teas & salads!

 

Jacqueline’s Nut Ball Recipe

During refreshment breaks at my events, I like to serve tea and snacks made with scented botanical ingredients. For ‘Plant to Perfume‘ workshops at Glasgow Botanic Gardens, I have a friend make ‘nut balls’ flavoured with my orange essential oil, here is the really simple recipe if you would like to make them:

Jacqueline’s orange scented nut ball recipe:

Ingredients:

Instructions:

  • Roast almonds in oven for 15/20 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius. Allow to cool.
  • Blend roasted almonds.
  • Remove them from blender and blend the sliced dates with any pits removed.
  • Add nuts to dates and blend until mixture starts to form.
  • Mix the drops of orange essential oil with the olive oil and add to the blender, blend a little more. Note you could try flavouring with other essential oils such as mandarin, peppermint or even geranium!
  • Place in bowl and knead with hands forming into a ball.
  • Roll into small balls and then roll in the chopped hazelnuts.

With thanks to Jacqueline McFadden, who is also a Complementary Healing Practitioner in Glasgow and offers:

  • Energetic Facial Release Massage £25
  • Full Body Massage £50

During the month of October 2019, Jacqueline is offering a 10% discount.

For more details contact: jacquelinemcfadden04@gmail.com –  07727 424249.

Flax Seed Cracker Recipe – with a sprinkle of lavender flowers.

This is a Super Simple Flax Seed Cracker Recipe…

A slightly strange post for an essential oil site but I’m sharing this recipe after several requests because I usually make them for my Perfume and Aromatherapy Workshops to have as a snack during the ‘fragrant’ tea break. They are literally just made with flax seeds and water as follows:

Ingredients
2 cups ground flax seeds,
1 ½ cup water
That’s it!

…but you really need to add some spices and herbs (2-3 tea spoons) to the recipe other wise they would be pretty bland.
I usually sprinkle lavender flowers on mine (which smells amazing when they’re baking!), and a few spices like turmeric and caraway seeds. Sunflower and pumpkin seeds give them a bit more bite. Black pepper and rosemary is a nice combination, but really you can add anything you like – chilli powder, lemon zest, fennel seeds – (Check out my blog ‘The Art of Blending Essential Oils’ for some more tips & inspiration).

Method
♥ Preheat oven to 160⁰ C
♥ If you have whole flax seeds put them in a blender and grind to a fine dust.
♥ Blend the ground flax seeds with spices and herbs (and other seeds) in a bowl and then add the water and mix until it becomes a gooey mess.
♥ Line a baking tray with parchment paper and place the seed mixture in the centre. Cover with another baking sheet and flatten with a rolling pin. Try to make it as thin as possible but be quick or the mix will stick to both sheets..
♥ Once flat, you can sprinkle with sesame seeds, lavender flowers etc., press down with your hands so they stick and place in the oven.
♥ After about 5 minutes, remove from the oven and run a knife or a pizza cutter along the tray to score your desired cracker shapes.
♥ Bake for one hour then turn the oven off and leave the crackers in there as long as possible as this dries them out further.

The crackers are tasty on their own but event better with dips, here are some recipes for delicious accompaniments:

Guacamole recipe

Hummus recipe

Parsley, lemon and macadamia dairy free pesto recipe

Beetroot dip recipe

 

If you have a sweet tooth you could turn them into healthy biscuits by adding things like dried fruit (very small pieces), vanilla or cinnamon powder, desiccated coconut and even orange zest. Let me know how your experiments go…

Click here to see up and coming workshops (which generally include fragrantly themed healthy snacks).

Cooking with Geranium Leaves and Geranium Essential Oil

How to Cook with Geranium – baking with scented leaf pelargoniums and flavouring frosting with geranium essential oil.

scented leaf pelargonium
Scented Pelargonium Leaves.

It’s the leaves in the Pelargonium plants (often incorrectly called geraniums) that yield essential oil. They come in a range of incredible scents, including orange, lemon, rose and even chocolate peppermint!

To use them in baking, clean the leaves and lay them at the bottom of a cake or bread tin. Pour in the mix and whilst baking, the essential oil held in the leaves will be inspired to rise through the mixture, infusing it with a delicate, sweet floral scent and flavour. Turn the tin upside down to tip out the baked cake and remove the leaves before eating (you can leave them in for show, but don’t eat them).

Fibrex Nurseries stock a range of scented leaved pelargoniam’s that would be suitable for use in baking, these are two of my favourites: Attar of Roses & Islington Peppermint:

Attar of Roses - Scented Leaf Pelargonium       

This technique would work well with any cake or bread recipe that has a fairly delicate flavour to allow the scent of the geranium/pelargonium to come through. A plain sponge is probably best for highlighting the fragrance.

Here are a couple of delicious options you could experiment with:

You can also flavour cake icing with Geranium Essential Oil – you must use a food grade essential oil for this and only a tiny amount of essential oil, or you will find the flavour too over powering.

Coconut and Carrot Cake – by Live Love Nourish.

How to Cook with Essential Oils – an Introduction

You may not be aware of it but you’re likely to be cooking with essential oils in some way on a daily basis.

Essential oils are made from an array of plant material that contain highly scented volatile parts. This could be eucalyptus leaves, cardamom pods, lavender flowers or rose petals. To make them into an essential oil the plant material goes through a process called distillation. This involves steam passing through and releasing those molecules then capturing the oil as the steam turns back into water.

There are many plant materials containing essential oils that are commonly used during cooking and when you apply heat to them this releases those oils that make for delicious smells in your kitchen:

Spices: When you heat up seeds like coriander, cumin and fennel,  in preparation for something like a curry or a tagine, it makes for a mouth-watering atmosphere. The essential oils also have an effect on your digestive system by stimulating digestive juices, (hence the ‘mouth-watering’).  Try this Garam Masala Recipe to experience the affect of releasing essential oils when preparing a spice mix.

Herbs:  With some herbs, such as basil, rosemary and thyme, the heat on a sunny day will be enough to initiate a waft of essential oil as you pass by, and on cooler days you may need to rub the leaves with warm fingers to release the scent.

Flowers: You can use many flowers in food for their perfume and delicate taste such as roses, orange blossom, geraniums and of course lavender.

I have been experimenting with cooking with essential oils and scented plant materials recently and it can be as simple as sprinkling some rose petals on your meal or adding a drop of lemon essential oil to your bottle of olive oil for dressing salads. I  sometimes sprinkle fresh or dried lavender flowers on meat or fish when baking them in the over, and it smells amazing! It doesn’t take much for a magic touch*.

CAUTION: When using essential oils in cooking you need to be very sure that you are buying from a trust worthy source, where the oil is not diluted, adulterated or synthetic. Essential Oils by Laura Hoy are suitable for flavouring foods.

Raw Fruit and Nut Balls – flavoured with Essential Oils

Fruit & Nut Balls (AKA Mini Christmas Puddings) – Recipe

These delicious fruit & nut balls are super simple to make with the added benefit of being raw (no cooking needed), gluten free, vegan, dairy free & sugar free! (the dried fruit makes them sweet enough).

Ingredients:

  • 80g – golden sultanas
  • 50g – dates
  • 60g – dried cranberries (without added sugar)
  • 50g – dried apricots (brown ones if you can as the orange ones have preservatives in)
  • 130g – ground almonds
  • 50g – walnuts (or another favourite nut)
  • 8 drops – Orange Essential Oil (must be food grade) or an essential oil of your choice*
  • 1 table spoon –Olive Oil
  • A dash of Cinnamon, Clove, All Spice and Nutmeg (powder)
  • 1 table spoon Ground flax seeds (optional)
  • A sprinkle of finely ground desiccated coconut to decorate.

You could use any essential oil* you like to flavour these, some other suggestions that work well include peppermint, mandarin or geranium. You could also try a combination e.g. orange & geranium, lime & peppermint but keep the total number of drops as 8.

Instructions

  1. Place all of the fruit & nut ingredients into a food processor.
  2. Add 8 drops of the orange essential oil to a table spoon of olive oil. This helps even distribution of the essential oil.
  3. Add the oil to the other ingredients in the processor and blend until the mixture comes together. If the mix is too dry and not sticking together, add another dash of olive oil.
  4. Shape in to balls by rolling in the palms of your hands and place into mini cake cases. I weight out about 30g of mix to get even sized balls.
  5. Finish off by using a sieve to sprinkle finely ground desiccated coconut over the tops or roll in sesame seeds.

With thanks to Heather Di Marino from ‘Eat Well Live Well’ for sharing her wonderful recipe, her Raw Orange & Carrot Carob Brownies are another delicious treat you can flavour with essential oils.

*Essential oils must be 100% pure, organic and unadulterated to be suitable for use in flavouring foods – Essential Oils & You are suitable. When flavouring food, the amount of essential oil needed is very tiny. Never ingest essential oils for health purposes without advice from a professional and remember they are not water soluble, so do not drink drops in a glass of water. Gargling for oral care is fine, but do dilute the essential oil first, so you don’t have neat essential oil touching the very delicate lining of your mouth. For more details on Gargling with essential oils click here.